SCOTTSDALE — Hunter Pence didn’t want to get an MRI on Monday afternoon, insisting that his right Achilles is fine. The Giants ordered the test anyway -- and it showed that Pence is fine.
“It’s just some inflammation,” manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday. “It’s good news on that. He’s still going to take some days off, up to a week. But he got good news on the MRI.”
Pence hasn’t been part of the on-field workouts since departing early Saturday, but on Tuesday there were few veterans at the park. Bochy gave his big leaguers the day off as prospects took the field for an intrasquad game. Most of the big names will get Wednesday off, too.
Bochy said Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Joe Panik will be the only regular starters in the lineup for the Cactus League opener. Posey will catch Jeff Samardzija and then get on an every-other-day schedule. Clayton Blackburn will follow Samardzija.
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The Giants are going to be cautious with their regular starters, and all of them will get plenty of time off over the next month. Panik is being watched more closely than most, but he’s had no setbacks this spring and his back continues to feel 100 percent healthy.
“I’m sure he had concerns,” Bochy said after noting that Panik will start Wednesday. “As long as it lasted and the road he had to go down to get well, he should be happy (right now). He feels good. He feels 100 percent, but we’re still going to watch him.”
REAL BASEBALL! Team Randy Winn beat Team Shawon Dunston 3-0 during the three-inning intrasquad game. “This is a big day for me personally, a big day for the Giants,” Winn said (I’ll throw in “a big day for CSN Bay Area” since he’s one of our analysts). Dunston now has to pick up Starbucks for the next week.
“Dunston is taking it hard,” Bochy said. “But he’ll be alright.”
Bochy was impressed with the prospects who took the mound. The full list: Tyler Beede, Chase Johnson, Jake Smith, Ian Gardeck, Ray Black and Sam Coonrod. They combined for just one walk, which pleased Bochy since nerves are sometimes an issue when they’re pitching in front of Bochy for the first time and Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans watch from directly behind the plate.
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“They threw strikes, they pounded the strike zone well,” Bochy said. “These young kids, they’re getting their feet wet. I like the way they got on the mound and threw strikes."
Hak-Ju Lee had a single, walk and a steal, but he also got picked off and made two errors at short. Ryder Jones had a double and Rando Moreno drove him in with a double. Ty Ross had a single and Christian Arroyo had two hits, including this double to end a good battle with fellow top prospect Tyler Beede.
STOCK RISING: We take note around here when Bochy mentions a player he wasn’t asked about. So there was this today: “This Hernandez, he’s intriguing. He’s coming off a nice winter ball (season), he’s a center fielder. I’m looking forward to watching him play.”
That would be 28-year-old Gorkys Hernandez, who has just five big league at-bats since 2012 but was once a top-100 prospect. He has bounced all over, from the minors to the Mexican League to a brief cameo with the Pirates last season, but the Giants have found success with that profile (think: Blanco, Gregor) over the years.
Bochy said Hernandez, Mac Williamson, Jarrett Parker and the rest of the backup outfielders will get plenty of time this spring.
LIGHTER SIDE: Tuesday’s lunch, per Ron Wotus’ schedule: the elusive coho salmon.
QUOTABLE: “No. Absolutely not. I would be adamant not to have the DH in the National League.” — Bochy, when it came up again today.